If I am David Bowie says anything about the lineup for State-X New Forms it’s that eccentric is welcome here. A modern art performance, I am David Bowie features a man sitting in a wheel chair while having his face painted with Bowie’s iconic lightning bolt look. Off stage left a TV plays images of others with similar looks. The inclusion of this performance in this year’s otherwise all music line-up shows that this festival is interested in show casing art. Performances like these are becoming more common and can be seen not only at State-X, but also at other music festivals across the globe. Roskilde in Denmark is a great example of this as they have areas entirely dedicated to art installations.
But enough about Bowie, I bet you’re wondering about the music. Musicians from both inside and outside of The Hague came together to create a two night, multi-venue, multi-genre festival. At times, the music transported me. To beaches, sun spotted forests, far away from the ice cold winds outside.
The enthusiasm of the musicians was contagious. Kazmo, who performed twice Saturday night under two different names and two different genres, not only rocked a key-tar but he also dressed to match his music, sporting an 80’s style jacket and graphic tee. Piano prodigy Cory Henry, part of the Snarky Puppy ‘fam’ who performed on the main stage Friday night, killed it with his performance of Amazing Grace. But what really won me over was not his clear talent on the organ but his mismatched socks. I’m not sure why but they stuck with me.
Not only were the musicians clearly enjoying themselves but the audience also welcomed them warmly. Alcuna Wilds’ ‘Surburban Noir‘ was greeted with great excitement in the PaardCafé. Grammy-Winning Snarky Puppy got the crowd dancing with their blend of jazz, soul, funk and r&b on the Main Stage. Fine China Superbone shook things up with loud and fast rock.
The diversity of sound from one venue to the next was refreshing and inspiring. By the time I checked out experimental musicians Irmler & Liebezeit on Saturday night I found myself impressed by what State-X New Forms had done. For such a small scale event it managed to cover a huge range of styles and skill. I look forward to seeing what they have to offer next year.